On the front of my book, the words "a thriller" appear underneath the title. On the back of my book, Marilyn Stasio from the NYT says it's "chilling..On the front of my book, the words "a thriller" appear underneath the title. On the back of my book, Marilyn Stasio from the NYT says it's "chilling...enough to freeze the blood." Publishers Weekly says it's "taut, atmospheric.." I've just finished it, and it's a) not thrilling, b) not chilling, and c) definitely not taut. In fact it seemed rather bland as far as mysteries go. The ending is sort of ridiculous, actually.
I had thought that if I enjoyed this book I would possibly read the rest of the series, but that's not going to happen. I know tons of people liked it, but it's not for me. ...more
I hope the people in the group I'm reading this book with like it as much as I did. I felt as claustrophobic reading it as the main character who liveI hope the people in the group I'm reading this book with like it as much as I did. I felt as claustrophobic reading it as the main character who lived it.
At the end of this novel, I was actually very relieved to be out of it -- not because it's not good (it's excellent, as a matter of fact) -- but ratheAt the end of this novel, I was actually very relieved to be out of it -- not because it's not good (it's excellent, as a matter of fact) -- but rather because while I was in it, I felt as trapped and as powerless as the narrator of this story. In fact, those two words -- trapped and powerless -- are actually good concepts to use here in thinking about the novel as a whole. Now, when a book can do that to me while I'm reading it, well, it's a good one. It's extremely rare that I find a book that creates a personal reaction that actually mirrors what's happening in the story, but here it was unavoidable. Only the very best writers are able to do that, and it is something I genuinely appreciate.
For the rest of what I think about this book, I'll link to my reading journal. Sometimes for what I want to say, this little box here where I'm supposed to post my thoughts just isn't the right venue. Don't worry - there's not much in the way of spoilers there.
Bottom line - for me, an outstanding book that I found completely at random, and one I will absolutely never forget.
Ah. This is a book I really liked. It's one of those well-written, intelligent books I crave, where yes, there is a crime, but the people in this bookAh. This is a book I really liked. It's one of those well-written, intelligent books I crave, where yes, there is a crime, but the people in this book are the focus, rather than the crime. It is a slow-burning, thinking person's book that hit me like a ton of bricks at the end. And it's really, really good.
I consider myself quite lucky to have found this novel because it's so nicely done I couldn't stop reading it once I'd picked it up. It is not what I'd call a typical suspense/crime novel, so anyone who may be considering it might want to make note of that fact. In other words, the plot is not nearly as important as what's happening around it. Instead, it is the story about what lengths a woman will go to in order to prevent her world from crashing in on itself when threatened; as such, we are made privy to the thoughts in this character's mind as she tries to gather courage and strength to protect her family.
[if you want a very brief look at plot, no spoilers, click here for my reading journal. ]
Aside from the crimes here, this book takes a look at (among other things) motherhood, family expectations, the true meaning of friendship, race, class, and domestic disruption on the home front due to the war. At the same time, the focus on the criminal aspects here are very well done, and the suspense ratchets constantly through the novel. It is so very well done on both inner and outer fronts, and I was so impressed with it that I couldn't put it down. It is highly intelligent and as I said earlier, I feel fortunate in having discovered it completely by chance. I can seriously and highly recommend this novel to readers of vintage crime, and to readers who enjoy crime fiction written by women. I promise - it's a story that will not be forgotten....more